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Art Deco Cameras

Fex/Indo Ultra Reflex


Fex Ultra Reflex
Fex Ultra Reflex
Manufacturer: Fex/Indo
Produced: 1952
Classification:Medium Format
Body Type:Pseudo Twin Lens Reflex
Film Type:120
Film Width:62mm
ImageSize:2¼ x 2¼ in
Lens Type:Meniscus
Focus Type:Fixed
Focal Length:85mm
Focal Range:3m - inf.
Aperture Type:Multihole
Aperture:f/12; f/18
Shutter Type :Rotary
Shutter Speeds:B, I(1/25s,1/100s)
Size Open(w x h x d):90 x 170 x 95 mm
Size Closed(w x h x d):90 x 130 x 95 mm

Art Deco Credentials

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Noteworthy: Worth giving special attention


The camera is part of a range of cameras having similar design with regard to the heavily ribbed nature of the bakelite body. The heavy ribbing was first seen in the Fex/Indo Superior camera which came out in 1940. The ribbed design continued until 1957. The film door is black enamelled metal.

The camera can be described as a pseudo twin lens reflex camera. It isn't a true TLR because the top lens is just part of the viewfinder and does not aid focussing. This is a 6cm x 6cm format camera giving 12 images on 120 film. The advance knob of the film is aluminum. There is a second aluminium knob which is secured to a threaded rod which serves as an axis to the supply reel.

The objective lens is labelled 'FEXAR - OPTIC - SPEC' and is a meniscus lens. It is surrounded by a bluish aluminum collar which stands out beautifully. It has 2 openings on a sliding aperture plate labelled "Normal" and "Intense". These were measured as f/12 and f/18. The shutter has 3 positions: 100, 25 and P (P = pose, corresponding to Bulb). The shutter release with a metal head is located on the lens plate. There is a red window to control film advance.

It has a large bright waist level reflex viewfinder but there is also a flip up eye level frame viewfinder. There is a yellow filter in the frame near to eye, for reason unknown. The large viewfinder frame has a clear plastic insert carrying some crosshairs. There is no adjustment of the focus with the objective lens set on the hyperfocal distance to give a clear image between 2 or 3 meters and infinity. A pc flash connector is provided with a accessory mount nearby. There is a thread for a tripod.

How to Use

This camera takes 120 film which is easily available from photographic outlets. To open it, simply lift the grey metal piece at the top of the back, then pull back out and slightly down. If that gets stuck, you will have to insert a knife blade at the top of the door and pry it open.

This camera has two aperture settings labelled 'normal' (f/12) and 'intense' (f/18). The available speeds are 1/25s and 1/100s

If you don't want to bother with an exposure meter, follow the guide shown. It is based on the 'Sunny 16' rule. Film is so forgiving and will produce acceptable results even when overexposed by 2 or 3 stops or underexposed by 1 stop.

Remember that the exposure guide in the camera user manual may not be helpful as it is based on the use of old film with a low ISO value.

The tables assume that the sun is at least 30 degrees above the horizon - that's 10am - 5pm on a summer's day (May to August) in the UK.

If you are not sure about the light level, err on the side of overexposure - i.e. assume the smaller f number.

Where there is a choice, a larger f number will give a larger depth of field.

For the slower speeds, you may need a tripod to stop blur through shake.

Using ISO 100/125

Key: Green - Good exposure; Amber - acceptable exposure; Red - unacceptable exposure. Number of stops over or under shown.

Weather ConditionsShadow DetailShutter Speed (s)
with sharp edges
+3 over
+1 over
+2 over
Slight OvercastSoft around edgesf/18
+1 over
OvercastBarely visiblef/18f/12
-1 under
Heavy OvercastNonef/12f/12
-2 under
Open Shade
-1 under
-3 under

Being fairly old, it would probably benefit from cleaning the lenses and viewfinders. This is easy to do and most worthwile. Check out my page:- 'Restoration of a Fex/Indo Ultra Reflex'.